Introduction: Limited information is available about the presence of tick-borne pathogens in urban parks in Italy. To fill this gap, ticks were collected in a public park in Rome over a 1-year period and screened by molecular methods for tick-borne pathogens.
Results and conclusion: The most abundant tick species were Rhipicephalus turanicus and Ixodes ricinus. The predominant pathogens detected were Borrelia. burgdorferi sensu lato (36%), Rickettsia spp. (36%), and Coxiella burnetii (22%). Among less frequently detected pathogens, Babesia microti was detected for the first time in Italy, with a prevalence of 4%. Neither Bartonella spp. nor Francisella tularensis were detected. With regard to co-infections, the most frequent double and triple infections involved Rickettsia spp., B. burgdorferi sl., and C. burnetii.. A positive correlation was detected between pathogens and I. ricinus. Further studies are needed in order to assess risk associated with tick-borne pathogens in urban areas.